For most of the seven years I've been in the city, we have lived in Leyton. We rented a little place in another part of the area my first year here, before hopping across for eighteen months in the NW3 area. As much as I liked being able to walk to work (seriously, best commute ever) and having the gorgeous Everyman Cinema so close, I don't think we were ever truly at home over there.
With that being the case, when it was time to buy we knew we didn't want to stay in that neck of the woods. NW3 is lovely, just not where we saw us setting up our home. It's also arse-clenchingly expensive, if you'll pardon my French. I love popping over to Chalk Farm, Belsize Park and Hampstead to meet with friends and old colleagues and can while away many a happy hour there, but putting down roots there was not what I/we wanted to do. We wanted a home with space to grow and live, if we possibly could, and that desire turned out to be wise - we've had countless visitors since we moved in (some short-term, some long-term) and I now spend most of my working life in our house too.
When we were looking at areas to investigate, Leyton was at the top of our list. It's a busy, fun area, with good transport links into the city as well as its own character, shops and restaurants. Having lived here before, we also had a pretty decent view of the pros and the cons of the area. We had a good look round and eventually bought this place. I can hardly believe we've been here over four years now - time flies!
We moved in in the spring of 2012, just before the London Olympics. And the changes brought in for the Olympics continue to benefit us now. Five to ten minutes away we have the huge Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is such a great space for the people of East London - green and pretty and full of things to see and do. A little further away we have the up and coming neighbourhood of the East Village, the new housing development in the area where many of the Olympic athletes and officials stayed back in 2012. As this area develops, more and more businesses are moving in, and it's one of those businesses I turn my attention to now.
Tina, We Salute You is a cracking little coffee shop. When I used to get the bus or a taxi home from Hackney I'd often pass their Dalston location and fell in love with the name and their quirky aesthetic. Imagine my delight, then, when they opened a branch in the East Village, a stone's throw from my home.
The cafe is huge, light and airy, with floor to ceiling windows looking out across the road to the green expanses of the park.
There's plenty of art and interesting decor to divert you while you wait for your drinks or food.
I always love a spot with board games.
How good do these baked goods look? I mean, those doughnuts.
I've yet to pop over on an evening, but the bar looks like one I need to investigate, for sure.
There's plenty of outdoor seating too, for smokers or sunseekers.
I've been to Tina, We Salute You several times in the past couple of months, and I've had a lovely time on each visit. The staff are friendly and helpful and check back just enough to ensure you never feel like you can't get a new drink, or another course, but not so much that you feel like you can't get your gossip on. Always a sign of a good team when customers feel attended to, but not constantly attended to, right?
I've been here for brunch, lunch, and an afternoon coffee. Weekend brunches are popular, with most tables filled as the people of East London tuck into breakfast staples of eggs, avo and pancakes. For lunch I had an awesome grilled cheese sandwich, which was perfectly gooey and supremely filling. The coffee is good and piping hot (surprisingly hard to find in this neck of the woods at times!) and the baked goods on offer are tempting and scrumptious (two faves so far? The brownies and the bread and butter pudding). On a weekday afternoon the place is filled with people working on their laptops; I'm going to be doing so myself at least once or twice a week in my writing weeks I think!
If you are in the East Village or out for the day in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, I'd highly recommend visiting. Good food, great service, and a nice bit of Dalston quirkiness in E20.
PS I know the zomato badge says the Strand - I have pointed this out as an error (twice), but as they don't have a UK community team now it's proving hard to liaise and fix this! I hope it remedies soon, the cafe has been open since September in the Stratford location and I'm sure others would like to visit and review too.